Along with the needles, there are other modalities an acupuncturist may use:
Moxibustion – heating of acupuncture needles with dried herb sticks to activate and warm the acupuncture point. Also known as “moxa”, used in conditions of deficient qi in certain organs. The herb can also be placed onto the needle by using a small protection shield.
Cupping – the application of glass cups to create a suction on the skin. This is to relieve stagnation of qi and blood, e.g. in sports injury and helps to increase circulation in the area. This method often leaves bruises or red marks on the body that will fade in 2-4 days.
Gua sha – the light scraping or rubbing of the skin with a blunt edge tool. This is also to relieve stagnation and used in cases of pain, most often neck pain. It too can leave bruising or red marks that fade in 2-4 days.
Electrostimulation – provides electrical stimulation to two to four acupuncture needles. Most often used for pain relief and muscle pain as it creates a constant but mild stimulation of the needle, possibly causing more endorphins to be released in the area.